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Garden Update 11/20

23 Nov


Left side of the bed

Right side of the bed

Mustard Greens

Left side of the bed

Pardon the delay but I misplaced my camera this weekend and was just able to find it. Here are photos of one of the last visits before our mega harvest today. The bed looked great on Saturday. Weeds were sparse and a lot of what we grew looked ready to be harvested. Some of the leaves had holes in them, potentially from bugs or critters. The soil wasn’t too dry and the weather was ideal. The pumpkin grew quite large! All was well at the time of the last visit.

Garden Update 11/17

18 Nov

Happy to report the garden looks great. It hasn’t been very hot lately so the soil wasn’t too dry. There do not seem to be very many weeds around and each of the greens we planted seem to be growing comfortably. There’s been a good amount of growth since my last visit and it’s clear that a lot has been harvested.

One Man’s Garbage is Another Mouse’s Feast…

9 Nov

Once the giants leave, I bolt into the kitchen and scramble for any remnants of their last meal. I spot a hefty piece of bread and half to use both paws just to pick it up. Starved, I eat it quickly. I continue around the kitchen collecting pieces of my next meal: a piece of corn, a small piece of meat, a chickpea, other indentified food crumbs and my ultimate favorite: cheese! Little do the humans know that these tiny pieces of food that drift off their plate serve as an entire days nourishment for me… I scurry back into my hole to enjoy my feast. Eating such small portions of different foods allows me to explore the different tastes and ingredients of food to the fullest. Humans only consume one, maybe two different foods per meal but I get to try five or six different types every meal. One man’s garbage is another mouse’s feast… and I feel lucky to be living in a house with such messy overeaters. These humans usually do not clean the kitchen until right before their next meal… perfect for me.


As I watch the giants from a hole inside the wall I wonder how they acquire these ample amounts of tasty food, I can’t imagine that they too have to steal it. They appear to be a happy family that enjoys eating together and laughing. The last family I lived with was not as friendly and they nearly put me to death after finding me dragging a piece of bread back to my hole…


The world around me is gargantuan and fast, a life I would never be able to keep up with. I find that it’s easier to watch from aside and remain invisible. Despite my size and misfortune, I believe I have an advantage over the humans: my mind is in a constant state of exploration. As the giants seem to be quickly bored by everything, moving from room to room and constantly changing the television channel, much of what I see is new and profound to me. Always trying to over flavor foods and serve new dishes, the wife of the family seems to be incessantly tending to the short attention span of her families taste buds. I happily consume the remnants of her meals.


Garden visit- 11/4/10

4 Nov



New friend that kept me company during my garden visit

Left half of the garden bed

Looking good...

Mustard greens

watering the plants…

water shower!


Visited the garden this afternoon– and it looked great! I was expecting the bed to be extremely dry but this was fortunately not the case despite this weeks EXTREME heat. The bed, however, was not completely moist so I watered it more to ensure that our plants would be nourished for the rest of the hot afternoon. There were some weeds around which I removed to ensure that all the greens had enough room, but it seems we did a good job spacing them when we transplanted last couple of times in the garden. The mustard greens looked AMAZING– thanks to our group. There seemed to be no bug infestations and all the plants looked perfectly healthy– so far, so good! Tomorrow is going to be even hotter so I hope the plants are watered… The gate was locked again– is it ever actually unlocked during the day?

The Allegory of the Forbidden Fruit

18 Oct

Momotaro’s story depicts a food, “millet dumplings,” as being “mythic” as it empowers Momotaro and his three animal companions to conquer an island inhabited by ogres.  He uses the idea of “mythical” or “propagandic” food to tell a story that has a deeper allegoric meaning: a parable.

Something I recently read in the Old Testament for my History of the Jewish bible class closely relates to this topic. In the book of Genesis, there is much discussion about a “forbidden fruit,” which is often represented as an apple. In the story, G-d tells Adam and Eve they are allowed to eat anything in the Garden of Eden that they want, except for the forbidden fruit, which grows on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eventually, Adam and Eve succumb to temptation, and Eve takes a bite of the fruit and gives the rest to her husband. For this they are severely punished, deprived of their innocence and exiled from the Garden of Eden. The mythical quality of the apple and Adam and Eve’s decision to eat it represents the human desire to have something that they know they cannot or should not have. G-d was testing Adam and Eve by forbidding them to eat one specific fruit, and unfortunately they failed the test due to natural human tendencies; such as desiring the forbidden. Had G-d forbade them to eat a different fruit, not an apple but a pear, they would eventually be overcome with temptation and have to try it. Here it is not the food at hand that is significant, but the “mythical” qualities attributed to it.  The story is a metaphor for any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral and potentially dangerous or harmful.

Mysticism in Thailand

29 Sep

In the Gourmet Club, Tanazaki illustrates the power and splendor of food as having magical qualities: “Not only after a splendid meal, but even at the moment they all gathered around a table piled high with delicious things, they felt the same kind of excitement, the same rapture one does on hearing the finest orchestral music” (99). His describes magical food as having the ability to take over one’s body and encapsulate all the senses.

In one scene of the story, a member of the food club suggests they have some “good soft- shelled turtle soup.” The members reacted to the suggestion with great enthusiasm, “and their eyes and faces took on a curious shine… a wild, degraded look, like that of the hungry ghosts of Buddhists lore” (101). This reminded me of how my sister and I reacted to my father’s suggestion to try shark fin soup and seahorse soup at lunch in Thailand. We never thought of consuming either of these special sea creatures before and the idea was extremely exotic to us. My sister ordered the seahorse soup and I ordered the shark fin soup, and we agreed to share both. The first taste of the soup to my lips was euphoric and the sensation spread throughout my entire body. I glanced over at my sister and saw that she was having a similar experience. We soon elected to trade, and it was my turn to try seahorse! Both soups were extremely tasty but I was more taken by the exotisicm of these dishes. The soups had a sort of mystical effect that was like what Tanazaki illustrates in the story. Having dined in many different countries across several continents, after this meal I was able to conclude that Asian cuisine is certainly the most outlandish and risky. This type of cuisine is ideal in demonstrating the mysterious and exotic effect food may have—which I vividly recall feeling when trying shark fin and seahorse for the first time.

A New Generation of Pretentious Diners: Foodies

16 Sep

Fukuoka discusses the modern style of dining and preparing food and the way in which it has deviated from a “natural” style of dining. He believes that a natural person can achieve the right diet because they are satisfied with simple food that is nutritious, tasty and useful in daily medicine. He takes issue with a new generation of pretentious diners, which he refers to as “foodies.” Foodies tend to be more concerned with the way in which food is prepared rather than the taste of ingredients in their natural state. He claims, “Modern people have come to think that if they do not prepare food with elaborate seasonings, the meal will be tasteless. If you do not try to make food delicious, you will find that nature has made it so” (Fukuoaka 137). Fukuoka explains that in our effort to make rich luxurious foods, useless foods are made, and it becomes harder to satisfy people’s appetites.

This modern style of dining rose during the time of the Meji period, a time when Japan became its modernization and rose to world power status. After this period not as much of Japanese society relied on farming for economic purposes and as industry boomed more people were spending money on food rather than farming it themselves for consumption. With the increase in popularity of “dining out,” people became more accustomed to luxurious dining and prepared food that was highly saturated with flavor, often times covering up the taste of the ingredients entirely, eliminating the taste that nature gave the food. Though “foodies” love and appreciate the taste of food, just as Fukuoka does, they do not value it’s true taste and that is the issue that Fukuoka discerns in “The One Straw- Revolution.”

An Australian Experience (– and not the Outback Steakhouse)

7 Sep

Though it would d be unfair to say that I have much experience in the realm of culinary art, I am proud to say I once took part in the preparation of a most exquisite meal. This August my family and I traveled to Australia. We started our trip on the Great Barrier Reef, at a resort where all our food was prepared by a number of reputable chefs. I was surprised to see that the cuisine lacked a notable Australian flare, and if anything the dishes seemed to have an oriental influence. Next we traveled to Darwin, to see and experience life on a pearl farm. We were no longer living in luxurious accommodations with restaurants and chefs to prepare our food. We were living on an extremely remote campsite that was entirely sustained by food and materials that were brought over by seaplane then boat every week. Since we were guests at the campsite my family did not dine with the other residents on the pearl farm (the workers). Here I learned the true meaning of Australian cuisine.

My sister and I had the opportunity to help prepare dinner our last night on the campsite. We cooked some local fish we caught earlier that day (Coral Trout and Barramundi—an Australian seafood favorite), as well as beer battered fries (essentially an Australian twist on the “French fry”), and kangaroo for main course. We prepared the kangaroo just as we would prepare a flank steak, and seasoned it similarly. We saved the best for last: oyster meat. Like kangaroo, oyster meat is not commonly consumed or found in America so the cook on the campsite helped us prepare it. The oyster meat came from oyster shells that we brought back from the pearl farms out at sea, and it is not to be confused with the oyster that is typically eaten from these types of shells, it is actually the muscle around it that aids the shell in functioning. This meat has a completely different consistency and is much denser, and not slimy. The cook at the pearl farm deep-fried the oyster meat for us, just like American chicken nuggets or fish and chips she said. The table was set and the meal was finally ready, and it was surely the most memorable and delicious meal I have ever prepared and enjoyed. That night I ate kangaroo, an animal I have watched from afar in a zoo, but in that region of Australia kangaroos are nearly as common as cattle in the United States, so they are consumed.  This meal demonstrated several components of organic, local, and traditional Australian food and was unlike any previous dining experience I’ve had.